Top German court rejects Tunisian IS suspect’s appeal
BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s top court said Monday that it has rejected the appeal of a suspected Islamic State member from Tunisia against deportation to his homeland, strengthening the legal position of German authorities separately seeking to remove an alleged associate of Osama bin Laden from the country.
The Federal Constitutional Court said German authorities had obtained sufficient assurances from Tunisia that the man, born in 1980 and identified only as Haikel S., wouldn’t face capital punishment and might eventually become eligible for parole — two preconditions for deportation required by German law.
S. was arrested in Frankfurt in January 2017 on suspicion of being a recruiter and smuggler for IS since August 2015, and of planning an attack. Tunisia separately accused him of involvement in the March 2015 attack on the Bardo museum in Tunis, as well as a March 2016 attack on the border town of Ben Guerdane.
His lawyer, Seda Basay-Yildiz, told The Associated Press she has submitted an urgent appeal to the European Court of Human Rights to halt his deportation.
A spokeswoman for Germany’s interior ministry said authorities would examine whether the ruling has implications for other cases in which Germany is trying to deport individuals to Tunisia.
“In those cases where it can be relevant we will of course consider it,” Sonja Kock told reporters in Berlin.
The case of a 42-year-old suspected Islamic extremist alleged to have once been a bodyguard for al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden recently made headlines in Germany.
Courts have barred authorities from deporting Sami A., who receives monthly state benefits of 1,168 euros ($1,427), because he might face torture in Tunisia.
The German government has said it is working to get diplomatic assurances from Tunisia he won’t be tortured.
Some German officials have called for aid money to be cut if countries refuse to cooperate in taking back their citizens from Germany.
Government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer confirmed Monday that Germany believes development cooperation should be one of the policy areas discussed with other countries in an effort to encourage deportations.
Tunisia’s failure to provide documents for another of its citizens, Anis Amri, was one of the reasons why he evaded deportation from Germany before carrying out an attack on a Berlin Christmas market in 2016, killing 12 people and injuring dozens more.
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